Fr. Denis Browne
The title “Lamb of God” is a very important title for Jesus. John the Baptist in this Gospel was to coin that title or phrase on behalf of Jesus.
In the Old Testament Times a lamb was often sacrificed as part of a religious offering for their sins by the Jews in the Temple.
A lamb was slain twice a day as part of this ritual.
And a lamb was often the animal slain for the Passover Celebration – We call it the Last Supper which we celebrate on Holy Thursday night.
But once Jesus became the Lamb of God and was ritually killed on the Cross for our sins, this action of His, put an end to the need to offer any more bloody sacrifices of Lambs. A lamb with no blemishes (no sins) is an innocent animal, just like Jesus; sinless and innocent.
For he was indeed the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
We pray to the Lamb of God three times in our Mass, and then the priest also prays; “here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, blessed are those who are called to the supper of The Lamb.”
Do we understand what we are saying?
A Modern Day Image:
Some Irish Missionaries in the Philippines had a problem with this expression “Lamb of God.” Because the people whom they were ministering to, have never seen a sheep let alone a lamb and therefore this great expression of faith was lost on them.
They searched and searched for a suitable local expression for the “Lamb of God” and eventually they came up with a “Little Woolly Pig.” It seems that the local people often offered a little woolly native pig as an offering or sacrifice to one of their old Gods.
So in Mass when the priest displays the host and chalice and intones the words of John the Baptist, “Here is the Little Woolly Pig of God, happy are those who are called to his supper.”
The locals then knew and understood exactly what Christ did for them.
So let us remember and understand in our hearts what Jesus The Lamb of God has done for us and let us do the same for others, by practicing what we preach, and maybe people will say of us, just like Andrew and his brother Simon Peter who followed Jesus, “Look there is a follower of The Lamb of God.”